Friday, May 28, 2021

Day 89, Thursday May 27, 2021


Psalms 1 - 57

Alec Kennedy Shelter to Lisa’s Hostel in Boiling Springs - 4.0 miles hiked today - 1124.1 total AT miles hiked to date.

Last night was a reminder of why I avoid sleeping in shelters.  Between the snoring and the rustling of sleeping pads, combined with the three late arrivals piling into the shelter after 10 pm, there wasn’t a lot of sleep to be had. 

Nevertheless, we got up and packed up our gear and headed out early, knowing we’d only be hiking 4 miles into town.  The rain had dried up and the trail was relatively dry.  Within a mile we reached the Center Point memorial which commemorates the original half way point of the original AT.  

Past the Center Point, we emerged from the woods, and into an open series of farm fields.  The last few miles into town crossed several of these fields, before emerging into Boiling Springs. 

Boiling Springs is a quaint little town that the trail goes right through the middle of. The ATC regional office is located there, although it is still closed. There is a lively lake in the middle of town and scenic historic buildings surrounding it.  We had breakfast at Cafe 101, and checked out the outfitter, although at this point no one really needs any additional gear to carry.   We checked into Lisa’s hostel, where I was able to shower, get laundry done, and prepare for several days off the trail.  Dinner was grilled cheese sandwiches provided by the hostel.

I won’t be posting for the next 5 days, but will resume hiking and posting on Wednesday June 2nd.

Until then…

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Day 88, Wednesday May 26, 2021


Esther / Job

Pine Grove Furnace campsite to Alec Kennedy Shelter 14.0 miles hiked today- 1120.1 total AT miles hiked to date.

Today was a tale of two trails.  The morning hike and the afternoon hike were night and day.  I packed up my (now dry) tent and was on the trail by 7 am.  The trail was gently rising and falling throughout the morning, with relatively few rocks to contend with.  I stopped at the Pole Steeple cliffs for a nice valley view, undisturbed by any other hikers that early in the day.  A little further down the trail, I stopped at the James Fry shelter where I discovered that I had 5G service on my phone, so I made some family FaceTime calls, and caught up on email.  I was surprised to find a real patio chair there, and relaxed in it for a while.  I also received a text from Rick that we were stopping at the Green Mountain General store for lunch, just minutes from the trail.

I arrived at the store a little before Rick, and ordered a meatball sandwich and fries from the grill.  Better than the PBJ I’d planned to eat.  Also picked up a new style of tuna pouch, this one with rice and beans included. I planned on trying that one out for dinner.

After lunch, we headed on, and that’s where the trail started featuring much more difficult conditions.  Suddenly we were faced with large sections of technicals, boulder fields that required climbing hand over fist.  Several times I had to throw my hiking poles either up or down ahead of me to allow me to negotiate a particularly difficult section.  The last four miles of the day took me over three hours to complete.  

As I made it through the boulders and neared the shelter where I planned to camp, the sky darkened and I had to dash the last few hundred yards up the trail as the sky prepared to unleash torrents of rain.  Rick and Pinot were already at the shelter as I ducked in just ahead of the rain.  Although I try to avoid sleeping in shelters as much as possible (only twice in the past three months), I decided to forgo my aversion and keep everything dry by taking a spot.  Fortunately there were a couple of individual bunks, so I don’t have to sleep on the community floor with the other hikers here, bumping elbows and knees all night long.We’ll see how it goes. I ate my new tuna packet for dinner (delicious!), and the settled into my bunk for the night.

Tomorrow we hike into Boiling Springs and will be staying at Lisa’s Hostel.  Starting Friday I will be taking 5 days off of the trail, while Rick travels home for a week.  Carolyn will be joining me as we spend 5 days on a hikers vacation.  I’ll be back on the trail next Wednesday June 1st.  Tomorrow will be my last post until then.

Until next time…

Day 87, Tuesday May 25, 2021


Ezra / Nehemiah 

Quarry Gap Shelter campsite to stealth campsite outside Pine Grove Furnace State Park - 18.6 miles hiked today - 1106.1 total AT miles hiked to date.

Today was a big day, full of milestones and interesting sites.  Rick and Pinot got an early start, as they were in the shelter and didn’t have to deal with wet tents.  It had rained all night, so I had to pack my tent away wet.  I set out about 20 minutes behind them, but pushed hard and caught up to them by Birch Run shelter, 7 miles up the trail. On the way, I passed the Milesburn Cabin, which is apparently available to rent.

Once I caught up to the others, and although it was still early (10:30) we elected to eat lunch there.  We were anticipating the 1/2 gallon challenge later in the day, so thought that an early meal made sense.  Moving on from there, we were on the lookout for the 1/2 way point marker at mile 1095.5.  We found markers for the 2019 and 2011 halfway points (slightly different due to annual changes in the trail length).  After going back and forth a couple of times over the GPS coordinates, we found a square hole next to the trail with large rocks stacked around them.  Apparently someone had pulled up the sign and post from that spot.  Undaunted, we created our own designation out of rocks and memorialized the spot ourselves.

Pictures taken, the next landmark was the 1100 mile designation.  Again stopping for the obligatory shots, we continued on, determined to reach the Pine Grove Furnace General Store for the Half Gallon Challenge.  It is a tradition for thru hikers to consume half a gallon of ice cream here to designate completing half of the trail.  Rick, Pinot and I all undertook the challenge and completed it.  My choice was  Raspberry for the 1/2 gallon and Brownie Batter for the pint.  The extra pint is because what’s sold as a half gallon of ice cream is actually a pint less, and the extra pint makes up the difference.  Once completed, we received a small wooden spoon each to commemorate the occasion.

By then it was close to 5, and Pinot and Rick decided to stay at the hostel next door to the store.  I elected to move on, and hiked another mile through the park to a site along the trail outside of the park grounds.  Tomorrow we’ll meet back up for a relatively short mileage day, although we’re told the rocks are pretty intense on this next section.  The following day (Thursday) we hike into Boiling Springs to stay at Lisa’s hostel foe the night.

Until next time…

Day 148, Sunday July 25, 2021

                   Zero day at Hikers Welcome hostel As planned, we took today as a zero, waiting out the thunderstorms and letting our bodi...